July 3, 2012
MASSIVE STEP FORWARD
NY Fury dominate New England in 4-0 win
HEMPSTEAD, NY---New York Fury coach Paul Riley got what he has been looking for from his team on Tuesday night, as Meghan Lenczyk scored two goals in a completely dominating performance over the New England Mutiny, 4-0 at Hofstra Stadium.
|Jasmyne Spencer scored in the New York Fury's 4-0 win over the New England Mutiny
Photo by James Smith/Courtesy Chicago Red Stars
The victory improves the Fury record to 7-3-1, 22 pts, moving them ahead of the Western New York Flash by one point. The win also puts the Fury 11 points clear of the Mutiny, who are in fifth place with a 3-5-2 record and 11 points. New York needs only two more points, or a New England loss or tie, to clinch a playoff spot.
"This was our best performance of the season," said New York Fury head coach Paul Riley. "We got at them from the first whistle. We have been working on our pressure and we took a massive step forward in that department.
"We have had some glimpses of what the team is capable of over the past few games, but tonight we had a real buzz and flair about us. Proud of the ladies tonight. We have put a lot into the attacking part of our game over the last two weeks and tonight we were dynamic in the final third."
Fury goalkeeper Michelle Betos made two saves to preserve her seventh clean sheet of the year.
"Seventh shutout on season is important and it gives the team confidence as we get to the business part of the season,” Riley said. “Kim Yokers played an inspired performance tonight and there was great linkage between the midfield unit and the forwards.”
Allie Long, who just made it back into the Fury lineup after struggling with injuries, staked New York to the lead just five minutes into the game. Long corralled a deflection off a defender to score her first goal of the season.
"Allie Long ran the show tonight and kept a great tempo for the team," Riley said. "Her and Kim Yokers have formed a formidable partnership already."
Merritt Mathias set up Lenczyk's first goal in the 26th minute to make it 2-0. Mathias sent a cross in from the right side that Lenczyk connected on with a header.
"Meghan Lenczyk is finding her top form," said Riley. "We are starting to really develop good chemistry in our front line. Goals bring confidence and she us a different player from two weeks ago."
Jasmyne Spencer scored her third goal of the season in the 40th minute, running in to collect an errant backpass by a Mutiny defender. Spencer had her first opportunity to score, in the eighth minute, thwarted by a fingertip save by Mutiny goalkeeper Vikki Alonzo, who finished the game with eight saves, as the Fury held a 17-4 shots advantage.
Lenczyk closed out the scoring in the 60th minute, winning a 50/50 ball and depositing it in the net. The former University of Virginia star has scored four goals in the last three games, plus one in a Women's Professional SUPERGROUP exhibition game against the DC United Women.
"New England are vastly improved and luckily for us they caught us on a good night," said Riley. "The playoffs are within reach and we are starting to get that feeling in the locker room that we have a chance at this."
The top four teams in the WPSL Elite will advance to the playoffs, which is a “final four” format that will be held at Sahlen's Stadium in Rochester, NY.
The core of the Fury team played in a championship game on that very field last year, when the Riley- coached Philadelphia Independence fell to the Western New York Flash in the Women's Professional Soccer championship game.
The New York Fury continue their push for the postseason on Sunday, July 15, when they visit the Philadelphia Fever, before concluding the regular season with two home games, against FC Indiana (July 19) and the Chicago Red Stars (July 22).
LONG ISLAND FURY: In the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader, the Long Island Fury fell to the New England Mutiny Reserves 3-0. The Long Island Fury fall to 2-3-2, while the Mutiny Reserves improve to 4-2-2.